Looking for reloading equipment

AR-fan

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Jul 18, 2010
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kentucky
I am wanting to get into reloading .223/5.56. I am wanting to reload heavier bullets for my AR...like 69 grain soft point bullets. The problem is I have never done any reloading before and have none of the equipment. I am thinking about getting the $100 kit from Cabelas, but wanting to know what you all thought about that kit. What else would I need to get started besides a caliper, scale, and brass cleaner?

If any of you could give me some pointers, I would appreciate it very much. Money is a big thing right now, so the cheaper the better, but I need something that has some quality too. Thanks.
 

dighawaii

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Feb 17, 2005
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Re: Looking for reloading equipment

The only reloading kit that I saw on Cabelas for $100 was the LEE Anniversary kit. The LEE kit will certainly be a start on reloading. You will still need dies, a case gauge and other small items like a LEE case trimmer, etc. But it is an economical way to start reloading.

If are in a hurry to get started and on a budget, this is definitely a solution.

Reloading lots of ammo for an AR will take time. Go slow and learn the process of reloading well and you will be on your way to making your own ammo.

I would encourage you to also purchase a reloading manual (they are all okay, but I like the Hornady and Lyman manuals. There are sections in these manuals dedicated to teaching you how to reload and usually go step by step which is excellent information.

From reading over the years, I know the forum will also be wealth of information and a great resource.

I also think it will be helpful to have an experienced reloader help you, it makes reloading more fun and someone to bounce ideas off of.

Good Luck and be safe.
 

AR-fan

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Jul 18, 2010
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kentucky
Re: Looking for reloading equipment

Thanks for the quick reply...my friends father will help me, and if I bought the dies and stuff for his kit, he would let me use it. But, I would like to have my own for here at home since his house is so far away. I guess I could just get the stuff for his and save my money to buy my own good kit?

As for loading a bunch of ammo...I am really just wanting something that I can hunt deer and hogs with in Kentucky. I have killed deer with 55 grain ballistic tips with chest shots, but I want something that will be heavier and get better penetration than the BTs get.

Does anyone out there know of a good heavy soft point bullets that will stabilize out of a 1/9 twist barrel? I would love any information that any of you could give me. Thanks again.
 

42769vette

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Feb 4, 2009
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liberty indiana
Re: Looking for reloading equipment

loading up 1000 rds of 556 on a lee single stage will teach you to hate reloading and life. ive done it and it sucks. when i started reloading i wanted to reload for every gun i owned. i still use a lee single stage, but after that 556 experiance i decided to only reload for my bolt action rifles until i get another press.
 

Fuzzball

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Jan 19, 2009
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Re: Looking for reloading equipment

I understand where you're coming from. I won't suggest you get what I use, our needs are different.

Loading a thousand rounds of anything on any single stage press in a single setting would be tedious, not limited to the Lee. But, it would seem loading a thousand rounds of anything isn't on your plate at this point so that's irrelivant to your question.

By far the best bang for the buck is Lee's tools and they do work okay. That said, they have some really good and some not-so-good tools so lets look them over.

The Classic Cast is the one of the best presses available at any price and its cost is astonishingly low. It's made of cast iron rather than the cast alum alloy presses in the lower cost kits. Actually, the alum presses are much better than many would have you think but the light presses aren't up to the life expectancy of an iron press. Even if you later want to expand your capacity you will still have plenty of uses for a solid single stage press so it won't be a waste.

Lee's dies do as well as any. You get a "free" shell holder in both the Delux and Pacesetter die sets but not in the RGB sets. Shell holders are typcially $7-8 so that matters.

No "quick change" die bushing system offers any real benefit. It only takes a few seconds to swap screw-in dies and they need not be any tighter than firmly hand tight. They certainly DON'T need to be wrenched in and out of place.

Lee's little "Perfect" powder measure is made of plastic. It sure isn't perfect but it's really good and at low cost too. Properly adjusted and used, it throws charges as consistant as any and better than some much more expensive measures.

Lee's "Safety Scale" is very accurate and very sensitive but it's quite hard to use. Get the 505 scale from RCBS instead, easy to use and will last three lifetimes if you take care of it.

Lee's reloading manual has lots of data and very good insructions for beginning loaders too. And it doesn't cost a lot.

Lee's inexpensive and simple case trimmer tools work very well.

Bits and pieces: You will need a powder funnel. Get Lee, Hornady's Unique or Redding's Imperial case lube (not a spray lube and no lube pad, apply it with your finger tips). A loading block. A case de-burr/chamfering tool. A stuck case puller. And an inertia bullet puller will be helpful too. For all this, any brand will work as well as another.

All this is said to suggest you put your own "kit" together with these tools and not get locked into some things that anyone's kit will have you do. Start with this stuff, it may be all you'll ever want. If you do want other tools later you will then have the personal experience to best know what you would like without having to ask any of us.

You do NOT <span style="text-decoration: underline">need</span> a case tumbler, a progressive press (or even a turret press), a dial caliper nor a digital anything to load high quality ammo. All that's very nice stuff to have, but it's largely fluff. (And I can already hear howls of outraged disagreement! Oh well, but I loaded quality ammo for many years before any of that stuff was readily available and I did pretty good too.
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Good luck!
 

Longshot38

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Mar 1, 2009
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Re: Looking for reloading equipment

The Lee kit is an OK place to start. As stated before Lee makes some good stuff and some no so good stuff. But you have to keep in mind that Lee manufacturers stuff targeted at the handloader on a tight budget. Thus quality isn't always top notch. However I do agree with Fuzzballs comments about the gear.
 

BeerAlchemist

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Jul 12, 2009
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WA
Re: Looking for reloading equipment

If you are going to load for an AR in bulk I have three words for you...power case trimmer.

Other than that get the Lyman (or similar) reloading book and spend time reading through online tutorials about reloading to see if you still want to do it. Remember, this is not a normal guy hobby of diving in and figuring it out from mistakes as mistakes in reloading result in fun things like blown up guns, dismemberment, shrapnel, bolts through the eye and so forth.